Cheap Dates

Couple, Holding Hands, Walking, Love

Dating in college can be a hit or miss for most and the second it gets down to deciding on an actual plan, a plethora of stresses have arisen. Where do we go? What do we do? What is expected of me? Is it expensive? That last question probably should have been first considering money is a daily concern for many students.

Luckily, there are options to pursuing inexpensive dates that won’t break the bank. Don’t go breaking piggy banks until giving one of these five choices a chance!

Keeping it old school

Maybe it’s not that old school – but grabbing some ice cream and taking a walk with a partner can be more fun than it seems, for more than just one reason. Imagine being able to enjoy a sugary treat while engaging in – hopefully intriguing – conversation and getting those daily steps in! Sometimes, keeping it old school is keeping it fun.

Simple & easy

Picnic, Man, Basket, Meal, Food, Blanket, Park, Outdoor

The joys of a picnic can often be limited to the season and location of residence. Depending on where you live, just pick the months with bearable weather and the date is half ready to go! All that’s left to do is pack some snacks and sandwiches, grab a blanket, and pick a lovely spot.

Night in

Let’s be honest here. Some days contain more energy than others. On this kind of night it could be equally fun to just stay in with some take out – or cook if one is up to the challenge – and watch a movie, though binging a show is just as fun (no discriminating here). This could provide a fun opportunity to talk about the crazy events that took place in the cinematic adventure experienced together.

A Budgeted outing

Lovers, Bench, Lake, Trees, Love, People, Man, Couple

This one might entail some extra cash but a trip to the beach or a nearby lake is a day of relaxation and extravagation. (Okay, I made that word up. It’s kind of like extravagant. I digress.) Find a cooler and fill it with snacks before heading out and it’s got huge potential to be a beautiful memory. Sitting in the sun with no worries is a start to a delicious recipe. From this point on there are endless combinations of how this splendidly filled afternoon could be spent!

grub & hub

Just spending time with a person can be an amazing time. Add on board games or a mutual experience and a thirty minute conversation can turn into an entire afternoon of enjoying someone else’s company. Multiply that by coffee and it’s a beautifully crafted date of sophistication and fun. Don’t knock it before trying it!

The beauty within all of these plausible ideas is the commonality between them. One word, four syllables, makes my heart skip a beat: affordable. Give them a chance before writing them off as boring and the regrets will dissipate faster than your bank account has time to cry.

Recommended Books to Read This Summer

Summer is kicking off and we have some great books on our summer reading list! We have compiled a variety of best-sellers for 2019 that are sure to appeal to all kinds of readers. These are 15 highly rated books that range from thriller novels, love stories, and historical dramas that will captivate you this summer!

American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson

It’s 1986, the heart of the Cold War, and Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She’s brilliant, but she’s also a young black woman working in an old boys’ club. Her career has stalled out, she’s overlooked for every high-profile squad, and her days are filled with monotonous paperwork. So when she’s given the opportunity to join a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic revolutionary president of Burkina Faso whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention, she says yes. Yes, even though she secretly admires the work Sankara is doing for his country. Yes, even though she is still grieving the mysterious death of her sister, whose example led Marie to this career path in the first place. Yes, even though a furious part of her suspects she’s being offered the job because of her appearance and not her talent.

In the year that follows, Marie will observe Sankara, seduce him, and ultimately have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, a sister, and a good American.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Gingerbread, by Helen Oyeyemi

Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. The world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend Gretel Kercheval —a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met. 

Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value.

Golden Child, by Claire Adam

Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life.

Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, 13 years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.

When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters – leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

Inheritance, by Dani Shapiro

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history – the life she had lived – crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is an audiobook about secrets – secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than 50 years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is an audiobook about the extraordinary moment we live in – a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics, but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

My Lovely Wife, by Samantha Downing

We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.

We all have our secrets to keeping a marriage alive.

Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.

On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.

But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.

Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.  

Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

The Age of Light, by Whitney Scharer

A captivating debut novel by Whitney Scharer, The Age of Light tells the true story of Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. “I’d rather take a photograph than be one,” she declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. As they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee’s life forever.

Lee’s journey of self-discovery takes took her from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from inventing radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it’s possible to stay true to herself while also fulfilling her artistic ambition–and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, by Anissa Gray

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband, Proctor, are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.

The Dreamers, by Karen Thompson Walker

One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.

Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

The Night Tiger, by Yangsze Choo

Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin plunges into a dark adventure: a mirror world of secrets and superstitions.

Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.

As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.

The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought. And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

The Weight of a Piano, by Chris Cander

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, built at the turn of the century in Germany, on which she discovers everything that she herself can do with music and what music, in turn, does for her. Yet after marrying, she emigrates with her young family from Russia to America, at her husband’s frantic insistence, and her piano is lost in the shuffle.

In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, 26-year-old Clara Lundy loses another boyfriend and again has to find a new apartment, which is complicated by the gift her father had given her for her 12th birthday, shortly before he and her mother died in a fire that burned their house down: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Orphaned, she was raised by her aunt and uncle, who in his car-repair shop trained her to become a first-rate mechanic, much to the surprise of her subsequent customers. But this work, her true mainstay in a scattered life, is put on hold when her hand gets broken while the piano’s being moved – and in sudden frustration she chooses to sell it. And what becomes crucial is who the most interested party turns out to be…

When You Read This, by Mary Adkins

For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris’s last wish.

Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris’ big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who’s been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

Told in a series of e-mails, blog posts, online therapy submissions, text messages, legal correspondence, home-rental bookings, and other snippets of our virtual lives, When You Read This is a deft, captivating romantic comedy—funny, tragic, surprising, and bittersweet—that candidly reveals how we find new beginnings after loss.

Cheap Hangout Ideas

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Summer is in the air and you’re ready for some fun with friends after a long semester! Summer time is always great for family vacations, road trips with friends, and other big, exciting adventures. However, sometimes you just want to have fun without spending lots of money! Here are some great ways to spend your time hanging out with friends that don’t break the bank.

Game Night
Having a game night with my friends is probably the cheapest and most frequent activity we do. It can also be an inclusive activity especially when you have friends with kids (hello twenties). Board games don’t have to be boring, so we usually opt for different games every week such as:

1. Mafia – this card game can get pretty intense especially if your friends are great at being secretive! Essentially, you are assigned a card and given the role of either a detective, a doctor, a mafia member (the killer), or an innocent civilian. The purpose of the game is to find the killer before everyone else gets killed. Find all the rules here.

2. Murder Mystery Games – with this game, you can either go all out or play it casually. There are hundreds of free downloadable online if you don’t feel like paying for a pack. Here is a website with 9 free ones you can look at right now!

3. Heads Up! – this app is great for a large group of people. The purpose is to get someone to correctly guess the word that is on the screen, either by singing, miming, or giving clues. The app is free to download and has tons of categories to choose from!

Picnic/Barbequeben-duchac-66002-unsplash
When the beautiful spring and summer weather hits, take advantage of pretty days by having a picnic or even a barbeque! Like game night, this activity can also be pretty inclusive and if you plan on hosting, there’s no shame in making it a potluck/bring-your-own-food outing. The great thing about picnics is that you can host it at pretty much any free place. Bonus points if it’s at the beach or a lake!

Exploring
This category is pretty broad, but exploring your city is always an option. You probably would take the option to travel instead of staying home, but what allures us to hitting the road is the notion of experiencing new things and seeing new places. If you live in a pretty big city, chances are you haven’t seen everything. Try out that new coffee shop or go to a restaurant you’ve never been before. You can even use this opportunity to sharpen your photography skills! If you live in a pretty old city, there’s probably a bunch of historic places that offer guided tours.

Try a New Recipe
This may be hit or miss with some people, but at the end of the day, eating is essential. Pick a recipe that aligns with your cooking experience and try it out. If you’re new to cooking (or think you’re terrible at it), get someone who has experience to help you out. You can do this with friends, your significant other or even do it to bond with your family. Plus, this will give you an opportunity to try out all those recipes you’ve pinned on Pinterest!

Craftingvladimir-proskurovskiy-529247-unsplash
In the age of DIY, there’s plenty of how-to videos floating on the internet. Don’t be afraid to get artsy and try something new! You can try pretty much anything, from crocheting to woodworking. Put on a Bob Ross video and paint with your friends! You can even plan crafting events around holidays and birthdays like card making, pumpkin carving, and gingerbread house building.

Mini Golf/Bowling
Not every city has a TopGolf or a Main Event, but chances are, there may be something similar. There are also tons of other options like indoor skydiving, VR arcades, go-karting, ice skating, and roller skating. Check out your local entertainment spots to see if they offer discounted evenings, or browse Groupon for some deals to save money!

Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms are hot right now and they keep getting better and better! The most expensive we’ve seen was $30/person, but there are some rooms that go for around $15. Do your research and pick the best one that suits you and your group.

Live Musicbogomil-mihaylov-519207-unsplash
You don’t always have to pay for a concert. So many restaurants, lounges, and even coffee shops have live music. And if you’re feeling bold, some places even have open mic nights! A lot of downtown areas carry events like this almost every night, so check out their calendars and see what sounds best to you and your friends!

Use some of these ideas or brainstorm your own, and go have some fun this summer!

Discounts With Your Student I.D.

College life has its ups and downs, but one major perk is all the discounts you can get with that small piece of plastic: your student ID! There are hundreds of places that offer discounts or freebies by verifying your student status. We have found 28 websites and stores that can help you save money!


Student Discounts at Retail Stores

  • Amazon: With your student email, you can get a 6 month free trial of prime, then pay 50% less than the full prime price after the trial ends.
  • Sam’s Club: Discounted membership and a $15 giftcard when you sign up.
  • J.Crew: Your student I.D. can get you 15% off full priced items online or in store.
  • Banana Republic: 15% off your full priced purchase when you show your ID in store.
  • Madewell: 15% off when you show your student I.D.
  • Kate Spade: 15% off your purchase when you sign up through UNiDAYS.
  • Levi’s: 15% off your purchase when you sign up through UNiDAYS.
  • Nike: 10% off online when you verify that you’re a student.

Student Discounts on Electronics

  • Apple: Apple offers “education pricing” for all students, even if you have just been accepted to a college. This discount can be up to 15% off Apple products.
  • Norton: Students can get 50% off protection software for your computer.
  • HP: Students can get up to 55% off select products and free shipping if you sign up through UNiDAYS.
  • Lenovo: Select your school and get up to 25% off certain brands, plus free shipping.
  • Sony: Up to 10% off products for students.
  • Adobe: Students can get up to 60% off “Creative Cloud” design software.

Student Discounts for Entertainment

  • AMC Theatres: They offer discounted student tickets on select nights when you show your I.D.
  • Spotify: With your student email address, get Spotify Premium for $5 a month (also includes Hulu and SHOWTIME).
  • Cinemark: At select Ciemark theatres, show your student ID to get discounted tickets.
  • Regal Cinemas: Certain locations offer student discounts when you show your ID. Check the list here to see if your location offers this discount.
  • Many museums or art galleries offer student discounts. Check out your local museums to see if they have any discounts for students!

Student Discounts on Food

  • These fast food restaurants offer 10% off meals at participating store locations when you show your student I.D:
    • Arby’s
    • Dairy Queen
    • Dunkin’ Donuts
    • Firehouse Subs
    • McDonald’s
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: If the university you attend is on this list, you can get a free appetizer with any $5 purchase.
  • Chick-Fil-A: You can get a free drink when you show student ID.
  • Wingstop: They run a promotional where you can get 15% off all combos Monday-Friday from 2-6pm with your student I.D.
  • Hello Fresh: 15% off every box plus free shipping when you sign up with UNiDAYS.

There are so many more student discounts out there to take advantage of! Another tip is to check out UNiDAYS, an app exclusively for college students that has TONS of discounts for restaurants, clothing stores, electronics, and more! Comment and tell us about other student discounts you’ve found!

Traveling on a Budget

Do you spend your time daydreaming of traveling the world and seeing glaciers, jungles, mountains, and beaches, while you’re confined to sitting at home? Or maybe you search photos on Pinterest and Instagram of all the fun cultures and food that you could experience around the world, and all you have is leftover mac-and-cheese in the fridge. Many people are left to wonder and long for fun traveling adventures, and the main thing stopping them is…money! But don’t put that suitcase away just yet, because there are tons of money-saving tips and ideas for traveling on a budget!

TRAVEL

One of the biggest roadblocks to pulling the trigger is the airfare. But there are quite a few tricks to saving money on flights:

  • Sign up for a credit card that earns points towards flights! This is a super easy way to earn cash towards that dream vacation, and you don’t even have to change your spending habits. Some credit cards good for this are the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture Rewards card. You could also do an airline-specific credit card, like Southwest. Start racking up points as soon as you want!
  • Travel in the off-season. This is typically November-March, although it may depend on the country you want to visit. Peak season is June-August, so avoid these times if possible.
  • Pack light to avoid checked luggage fees. Some airlines, like Southwest, let you check a bag for free. This is not often the case, so research before you go!
  • Tuesday is the cheapest day to travel, so try to book flights on this day.
  • Check prices often! Look at websites like Travelocity or Kayak that compare flight prices.
  • If it is not somewhere you have to fly to, consider road-tripping with family or friends! This is more cost effective than flying and you can split the cost of gas with others.

LODGING

Now that you know how you’re going to get there, you need a place to stay! This can also be a big cost, so here are some ways to stay in budget:

  • Travel with friends or family so you can split the cost of wherever you stay (this will also save in other areas, too)!
  • If you’re okay with sharing a space with other people, try a hostel! Hostels are world-wide and provide accommodations for big groups of people, such as students, workers, or travelers. You rent a bed for a low price, and often share a bathroom, kitchen, and living area with others. They are great for low budgets and meeting new people! You can easily find a local hostel in the country you’re visiting by searching online or going to websites like Hostel World.
  • Opt out of a hotel and instead choose a local Airbnb or VRBO. These are both popular forums that let you find lodging for a wide range of needs, and are very well-priced!
  • A FREE option is Couchsurfing! This website gives you access to free lodging in homes in almost any area.You can meet and stay with locals from all over the world who have an extra couch, bed, or air mattress for you to stay on for free. It is common courtesy to do something in return for the host, such as take them out to dinner or bring them a gift, but the entire experience is free!

FOOD

This is one of the best parts about traveling – all the food! While you want to enjoy the country’s cuisine and experience all the fun dining, it can take a toll on the wallet. Here are some ideas:

  • Stay in hotels or hostels that offer a free breakfast. Then, one third of your meals are taken care of! You can usually find this information online wherever you are booking.
  • Buy cheap snacks and easy-to-prepare meals from a grocery store instead of eating out for every meal. That way, you can splurge on dinner without feeling guilty. Take these snacks with you when you go out to avoid the urge to buy more expensive things throughout the day.
  • Eat local! Local food is a big pull to most places, and if often some of the cheapest options. Street vendors offer a great addition to any cultural experience, and are well-priced!

ACTIVITIES

Last but not least, you have to plan all of the fun adventures you’ll go on! Here are some tips for keeping activities budget-friendly:

  • Ask local residents what their favorite activities and deals are. Often, they will know the best places to go that may not always be on the beaten path.
  • Rent a bicycle for transportation instead of renting a car. Other good transportation methods are the local public transportation system, Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing sites. If possible, don’t use a local taxi – these are overpriced and add unneeded expenses to your trip!
  • There are lots of free entertainment options available, such as art galleries and museums! Some places offer free walking or biking tours, which allow you to visit all the must-see landmarks in the area. You can usually find music or art festivals at local parks, or vendors performing on popular streets. These are all great experiences with the culture and easy on the wallet!
  • If you are a student and have a student I.D, many places in the United States and abroad offer student discounts! Research what discounts you can get with your student I.D, and look into getting an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) because this is valid across almost all countries.

These are only a few of the many tips and tricks you can find on traveling. There is nothing stopping you from having the experience of a lifetime anywhere in the world – now start packing!

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